Carolyn Hax: Look back before moving forward
Dear Carolyn: If Mary and Bob are in a happy, stable, two-year relationship, would it ever be appropriate for Bob to go out for drinks with Molly, a woman he went on a few dates with in the past (nothing serious), and who knows of Mary’s existence, but hasn’t actually met Mary? What about a “once-in-a-lifetime” event, like courtside seats to an NBA game, for example?
Mary could presumably join them for drinks, but not for a game because Molly only has two tickets. What about then?
Mary thinks Bob might be leading Molly on, and is uncomfortable with the situation. Bob says it means nothing to him. Bob thinks it’s a lack-of-trust issue. He thinks if he tells Molly that he’d like her to meet Mary prior to the game, it would be sending a message to Molly that Mary is distrustful of Bob and is “supervising.”
How to proceed? – Mary
Something stinks here. That’s because committed guys say no, drama-free, to invitations from people they don’t care about, and they say yes, drama-free, to true platonic friends. Instead, your hackles are up, and the story doesn’t track; if Molly “means nothing,” then why accept her invitation, much less care what she’ll think if you join them for drinks?
But that brings us to one rottenness possibility: Bob is just using Molly to get courtside.
Another possibility: You’ve had problems with jealousy, both in this relationship and in past ones.
Another possibility: Bob wants Molly, and he’s using cool tickets to justify an exploratory date.
People can be users, or controlled by their own jealousy, and they can have a long history of auditioning Mollys while still dating Marys. So, figure out which one you’ve got by asking yourself: Is Bob’s version of events credible?
Take the last two years as a collection of dots, and start connecting.
Trust what you know, and trust what it tells you to do.